Post By Janet Williams
Thursday, April 26, 2018
Post By Janet Williams
Years ago, Suzanne M. Harding lived in a log cabin in the foothills of the San Juan Mountains in New Mexico, miles from the nearest library and on the other side of the mountain from a bookstore.
During one particularly blustery winter she found herself trapped at home as snowfall periodically closed local roads. That’s when she took up her pen and, in her own words, “began writing a mystery out of a sheer need to read a new story.”
With that, the former teacher, cab driver, secretary, art director and chef launched herself into a new career—mystery writer.
Suzanne, a mentor and friend to many writers in Indiana and elsewhere, died Tuesday, March 27, 2018 in her northside Indianapolis home of natural causes. She was 72. She was a long-time member of the Speed City Chapter of Sisters in Crime.
To the end she was doing what she loved—writing.
“Suzanne was driven to write with a purpose and with skill. She understood the craft of writing and wanted to pass that talent along to anyone who was interested,” said Diana Catt, one of the original members of In Mysterious Company, a writing critique group founded by Suzanne. “She wanted to mold fledging writers into successful, fulfilled authors. I will miss her wisdom and friendship.”
Suzanne had more than thirty short stories published in various online magazines and in print magazines and anthologies, including those produced by the Speed City Sisters in Crime chapter. Under her byline, S. M. Harding, her most recent short story, “You Belong with Me,” appears in the Bella Books anthology, Happily Ever After.
Her novel, I Will Meet You There, the first in a mystery series set in southern Indiana, was published in 2015 by Bella Book. The second, A Woman of Strong Purpose, appeared in 2016 and the third, Speak in Winter Code, in 2017. Suzanne was working on other books in the series.
She taught classes at the Writers’ Center of Indiana and participated in panels for its annual Gathering of Writers, as well as at Indy Author’s Fair and Magna Cum Murder, a mystery writer’s event held annually in Indianapolis. She gave the “First Book” talk at the Antioch Writers’ Workshop in Dayton, Ohio. She edited and contributed an essay to Writing Murder, a collection of essays by Midwestern authors about writing crime fiction.
“What I loved most about Suzanne was that she had a voice and she wasn’t afraid to use it,” said Brigitte Kephart, an Indianapolis writer who was a member of In Mysterious Company. “So much wisdom spilling from her mouth like a fountain and I, will be ever, a creek run dry from her passing.”
Suzanne had a deep influence on the Indianapolis writing community as a teacher, mentor, friend and inspiration.
“Suzanne taught me the importance of discipline, of sitting myself down and doing the hard work of writing,” said Janet Williams, a journalist and writer who met Suzanne at a class at The Writer’s Center.
"Suzanne was a tremendous mentor and leader of our critique group," said D.B. Reddick, also a member of In Mysterious Company. "All of us would agree that she helped to make us better writers."
Suzanne will live on in her words, “Writing is like following the strands of a spider web. Each filament—setting, character, POV, tension, dialogue, plot, voice—is separate, yet they crisscross and it takes every one to make the whole story strong.”
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
The following is a call for submissions by women authors for a new short story anthology, ME TOO: Crimes Against Women, Retribution, and Healing. It is not a Sisters in Crime anthology, but many SinC members may be interested in submitting stories. Unfortunately, submissions by male authors will not be accepted.
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
Project: ME TOO: Crimes Against Women, Retribution, and Healing, An Anthology of Short Stories
Maybe there's a story that has haunted you—yours or someone else's—and you've wished that everyone could hear it. Maybe you've always wished that you could change the ending.
Women across the world are breaking silence in unprecedented numbers in an outcry against sexual violence and misconduct. In fiction, however, women's perspectives on these experiences are too often disregarded. These short stories are the authors' efforts to help us hear them more clearly.
Editor: Elizabeth Zelvin, author of the Bruce Kohler Mysteries and the Mendoza Family Saga and editor of Where Crime Never Sleeps: Murder New York Style 4. Liz's stories have been nominated three times each for the Derringer and Agatha Awards and published in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, and Black Cat Mystery Magazine.
Guidelines: A 3,000 to 5,000 word short story (fiction, not memoir or creative nonfiction) on the theme of crimes against women, retribution, and healing...or alternatively, justice. Only stories by women authors will be considered. Stories must be original, ie never before published in print or online.
Deadline: July 1, 2018. See the full guidelines at http://www.metooanthology.net
Editor Elizabeth Zelvin is a three-time Derringer & three-time Agatha nominee. She is the author of The Bruce Kohler Mysteries and The Mendoza Family Saga. She also served as Editor of the short story collection, Where Crime Never Sleeps: Murder New York Style 4
Friday, April 20, 2018
Looking for something to do this weekend? Check out OPERATION FARLEY, a comedy play by Speed City Sisters in Crime member Ramona Henderson.
The play puts a different twist on recent news stories about removal of Civil War related monuments. Retired Jack discovers his great, great grandfather's Civil War memorial is going to be destroyed. He enlists his best friend Dale to help him save it. Their adventure leads to excitement, trouble, and making a new friend.
The play will run for two performances this weekend at the Basile Theater, 719 E St Clair St, Indianapolis, IN 46202. Performances are Friday, April 20 at 8:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 22 at 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students and seniors.
Performances: Saturday, April 14, 4:30 p.m.; Friday, April 20, 8:30 p.m.; Sunday, April 22, 3:30 p.m. at the IndyFringe Basile Theatre.
Playwright Ramona G. Henderson was born and raised in southwestern Indiana. She holds a Master of Science in Nursing from Indiana University. She retired from her teaching position at the Marian University School of Nursing in 2017 to pursue her passion for writing. Ramona is an unpublished mystery writer and playwright, and a member of the Speed City Chapter of Sisters in Crime. “Operation Farley” is her first play to be presented on stage. She currently resides in Noblesville, Ind.